Canoe nat’l team program eyed


A national team program will be on Northern Marianas National Paddling Sports Federation’s priority list for the 2019 season, as the group prepares for various regional competitions.

“The federation plans to establish a national team paddling program that will be used as a guide/framework in training athletes who will represent us in regional games such as the Micronesian Games, the Pacific Mini Games, and the Pacific Games, as well as International Vaa Federation (IVF) races. This program will rely on member clubs to encourage and recommend their member-paddlers who meet certain set of criteria to try their luck in representing our Commonwealth in the Games,” said NMNPSF president Justin Andrew.

The earliest Pacific Games will be held next summer in Apia Samoa (July 7 to 20), while the CNMI will be hosting the Pacific Mini Games in 2021, and the 2022 Micronesian Games will take place in the Marshall Islands.

In the past, the federation just held a series of qualifiers to select members of the CNMI Team and on a few occasions, a NMNPSF-member club represented the Commonwealth in these regional events.

“2019 will be a busy year for our federation as we will need to gather steam and energy and get on with trainings and preparations for the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa scheduled for mid summer. The federation will also have its local annual schedule of events and we will be announcing this schedule immediately at the beginning of 2019,” said Andrew, who is joined on the NMNPSF board by vice president Dino Manning, secretary Hazel Tudela, treasurer Shelli Neal, and race director Valerie Hofschneider.

“In addition, the federation eyes some other regional events that will be used as part of the preparation of the NMI national team that will represent us in 2021 Pacific Mini Games. The CNMI is hosting the Pacific Mini Games and it will be important to have a strong outrigger paddling home team to compete against some of the best in the region,” he said.

V1 races cap off season
Meanwhile, the federation wrapped up the 2018 paddling season with a series of V1 (one-man canoe) friendly races last Dec. 15 from Kilili Beach in Oleai to the Chamolinian Utt in Garapan and back.

According to Andrew, eight individuals paddled their way through windy conditions and choppy water.

“Going up north was a challenge since the wind was blowing strong and it was a head on wind coming in from almost up north. The return was a downwind with choppy water conditions that only experienced and seasoned V1 paddlers will truly enjoy,” Andrew said.

After the races, Andrew, who is also the coach of Saipan Paddling Club, and Napu Outrigger Canoe Club’s Jason Tarkong conducted a V1 clinic. Andrew said they are looking forward to holding more V1 races next year to promote the event here.

Andrew, on behalf of NMNSPF, thanked the business community, CNMI residents, their family, and friends for in-kind and monetary donations that helped the association hold regular races this year. He also acknowledged those who supported NMNSPF in hosting the Micronesian Cup, which had to be canceled due to Super Typhoon Yutu.

“Everything was in place for us to host and teams from Guam and Singapore who were booked and committed were to arrive on Oct. 24—the day Yutu arrived. On Oct. 22, we had to send out cancellation notices to all clubs and teams—there were over 10 teams registered to take part in this year’s races,” Andrew said.

“These kinds of races that attract regional and international paddlers are costly and takes a lot of work to put on. That said, on behalf of the NMNPSF, I want to extend our sincere appreciation and huge thank you to all the local businesses, residents who make monetary donations and in-kind donations, as well as the many friends and families who put in a lot of hours to help put on one of the best regional outrigger canoe paddling competitions in our lagoons,” he added.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.